Arc week begins with a mix of flat and jumps action in Britain and we start at Newton Abbott where there are a number of potentially well treated animals in the 2m 5f handicap hurdle.
Galileo Silver and College Oak will be winning races from their current mark, but I hope that is also the case with High Wells (3.40) who was last seen finishing fourth in the Mallard Handicap at Doncaster on the flat earlier in the month. The selection – 7/2 with bet365 – has run consistently well on the level this summer winning two of his five starts since joining the yard of Graeme McPherson and the hope is that he can transfer that improvement to the winter game. Note good or faster ground is imperative
There is plenty of pace in the 2m handicap chase with Pingshou and Scardura both confirmed front-runners and there is the possibility they will help set the race up for Monsieur D’Arque (4.10) who was outstayed over an additional half-mile at Warwick last week and the hope is that Harry Skelton can produce the bottom-weight over the last couple of fences. The 10/3 with Boylesports looks fair in what looks a virtual match to my eyes.
The obvious danger is Scardura – 13/8 from 2/1 – who overjumped and unseated Robbie Dunne at the first at Perth last time, but had previously ran a cracking race in a decent novice chase at Stratford that is working out well.
Sunrise Ruby (4.40) has been a beaten favourite in four of her five starts over hurdles, but has run consistently well in defeat and she can finally add to her Southwell Bumper success on debut in the Maiden Hurdle over 2m 5f. Nicky Henderson’s mare looks versatile with regard to underfoot conditions although the combination of a step back up in trip on decent ground looks ideal. The 7/4 with bet365 looks fair.
If Tipalong Tyler (5.10) is in the same form that allowed him to turn a Warwick handicap into a procession seven days ago, then a 7lbs penalty is unlikely to prevent him following up. The selection – who was fitted with first-time cheek-pieces last time – looks likely to be given a double figure hike in the weights when they are announced on Tuesday, so Kayley Woollacott is almost obliged to run her gelding this afternoon. If the headgear works the oracle a second time, I believe he will be tough to beat. The selection is 2s with 10bet.
At Newcastle, this evening and I hope to see Arnold (6.45) go one better than when runner up over 6f here last time – despite refusing to settle – when he would surely have won with a clear passage. The 6-y-old drops back to the minimum trip this evening and the hope is that there is enough pace to help him settle. A draw in stall two is another hurdle to overcome as is a 4lbs rise in the weights, but the gelding has won from higher marks in the past and he gets the vote at 2/1 with William Hill for Ann Duffield.
Black Star Dancing (7.15) set a strong gallop when fourth over 10f here last week and I hope to see Tony Hamilton – who takes over in the saddle this evening – make plenty of use of his 3-y-old dropped back in trip to a mile. The selection had previously finished third over this distance at Ayr and I hope to see him break his maiden tag at the 11th time of asking. He is bred to appreciate an all-weather surface and, having cost $110,000 as a yearling, is bred to be better than hs current mark. The 11/2 with bet365 is a fair ew price.